Design is all around us.

“Designers have a prescriptive job. We suggest how the world might be; we are futurists to some extent.”
– Brigitte Borja de Mozota 

I was once in Russia before Glasnost, it was the hard-core communist period, and the cold war was blowing its chill across the western hemisphere. As an art student, I wanted to see how the locals lived, so I went to a supermarket in Moscow and Leningrad (now St. Petersburg). Since there was no competition, there was no real need to market all the products. Coffee was coffee. Coffee from the state was the only coffee available, and if you didn’t want state coffee, you didn’t drink coffee. The coffee in Moscow costs precisely the same as the coffee in Vladivostock, 3000 miles away.

The packets were not designed; everything was in cheap paper bags. The contents on the bag were printed on a sticker that was unceremoniously placed, betraying the apathy and lack of pride of the coffee maker. It was devoid of design, of joy, of pride. It was bland, grey, sad, and depressing. I was in Russia for just two weeks, but I was so glad to get back to the world of our Designed capitalist society.


OUP companion to beer app

CBS the median Dutch person

OUP book covers

I have been a designer all my working life, and it inspires me every day the joy a great design can bring.

A formal definition of design follows.

A specification of an object, manifested by an agent, intended to accomplish goals, in a particular environment, using a set of primitive components, satisfying a set of requirements, subject to constraints. This is also the goal of the UX designer, the object being the emotional experience of the user.


But design is FUN. I started as a designer at school (see the “About Me” page).

Responsive design.

This is beginning to become an essential aspect of the UX design palette. Design is no longer a fixed size (e.g., book cover, a CD box, a poster); it dynamically changes from a 21-inch screen to a screen of a smartphone. The UX designer has to cope with this moving target.